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October 15: Karl Marx, Newspaper Man

October 14, 2011

Karl Marx became the editor of Rheinische Zeitung (“Rhenish Newspaper”), an anti-authoritarian newspaper, on this date in 1842. Earlier in the year, Marx had published a six-part series in the newspaper about freedom of the press and Prussian censorship that had boosted the Zeitung’s circulation and reputation. It was in the offices of this paper that Marx first met Friedrich Engels and began the long collaboration that would yield The Communist Manifesto and much more. The newspaper was their first project, which they steered along radical paths until the Prussian government shut it down on March 31 of the following year. Five years later, Marx launched the Neue Rheinische Zeitung in Cologne. It, too, lasted a year before the Prussian regime forced it to close.

“We have no compassion and we ask no compassion from you. When our turn comes, we shall not make excuses for the terror. But the royal terrorists, the terrorists by the grace of God and the law, are in practice brutal, disdainful, and mean, in theory cowardly, secretive, and deceitful, and in both respects disreputable.” —Karl Marx, final editorial in the Neue Rheinische Zeitung